GAME DAY RESOURCES
(All links pop to new window)
FIVE AND OUT
Ohio (+34) at Ohio State
The Buckeyes face the worst of all dilemmas: damned if they do (play everyone and risk further injury to key players), damned if they don't (play starters and risk getting out of sync before the trip to USC). The decision might not look such a lose-lose proposition under different circumstances, but with Beanie Wells' unfortunate injury last Saturday highlighting the potential losses, Jim Tressel likely wishes his team was... well, like the Trojans--off this week. What good news there is comes in the form of their opponent's incompetence, which should be magnified against athletes like the ones the Bobcats will face Saturday. If Ohio State's first choice Saturday would be a week off to rest and prepare, they should settle comfortably into the next best thing: a quick, big lead via the starters which allows the second through fourth strings to build experience and depth. Ohio State matter-of-factly dispatches the Bobcats, 41-6.
Georgia Tech (+6.5) at Boston College
I'm not sure people quite appreciate how strong a coach Paul Johnson has been thus far in his career. Consider the resume: 62-10 at Georgia Southern, where he won four straight IAA National Coach of the Year honoros, followed by a 45-29 record at Navy, including 5 bowls in 6 seasons. Sophomore tailback Jonathan Dwyer is going to look fantastic in this system. The Yellow Jackets scoff at Vegas with the "upset," 27-21.
San Diego State (+22.5) at Notre Dame
It's an interesting scene in South Bend this weekend, where the excitement for the return of football is muted somewhat by everyone's anticipation for next week's game with Michigan. Part of that is rivalry-fueled, but one senses the peering forward is at least partly PTSD-fueled phobia of a subpar showing against the Aztecs. After all, anything less than a blowout of a SDSU team which allowed 483 yards of total offense in a home loss to Cal Poly last week would mean... Well, it's just about unthinkable. I might look ahead to Michigan, too. Notre Dame eats the cupcake, 34-10.
Cincinnati (+21.5) at Oklahoma
With Cincinnati '07 breakthrough quarterback Ben Mauk's eligibility apparently exhausted, signal calling duties fall to senior Dustin Grutza, who accumulated nearly 600 attempts between 2005-07. He was certainly sharp in the Bearcats' season-opening 40-7 romp over Eastern Kentucky, but a trip to Norman will provide a real test of his mettle. In truth, Grutza's fate likely is in the hands of his offensive line, which average an impressive 6-4 and nearly 300 pounds; they'll have the unenviable task of trying to slow down the outrageous English-Granger-McCoy trio. If they can't, Grutza's finished before he begins, and Cincinnati will have no hope of keeping pace with a Sooner offense featuring Sam Bradford, Demarco Murray, Jermaine Gresham, and sixteen senior All-American offensive linemen. "BCS" Stoops and the Land Thieves wear down Cincinnati, 39-13.
Texas A&M (-2.5) at New Mexico
New Mexico has been bowl eligible for seven years running, so it's not like the Aggies get a free pass this week and land someone like... I dunno... Arkansas State. On the bright side, the Lobos were totally smothered by TCU last week in a 26-3 loss, so A&M shouldn't find itself in a run-n-gun shootout. For Farmer fans in this darkest of hours, the road forward is really a matter of sorting through and balancing the at turns morbid and bright side perspectives: Yes, Stephen McGee in Mike Sherman's system is something only an idiot could dream a good idea, BUT, that idiot is Bill Byrne, and this hire will prove his end. So chin up, Farmer: The Mike Sherman disaster should end within two seasons--three, tops--after which you'll be 3-5 years from Big XII contention again. Provided you get a good coach, of course. That's not so bad. 2014 is practically around the corner, when you think of time in a cosmic sense. I'll say the pain stops for one week with a 21-20 win over New Mexico.